The UK passes its version of the EU’s Digital Markets Act

The UK passes its version of the EU’s Digital Markets Act

The UK has passed a bill that’s the country’s version of the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). Legislators fast-tracked the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers (DMCC) Bill before parliament dissolves on May 30 ahead of a general election in July.

The overarching aim of the DMCC, which is set to become law once it receives Royal Assent, is to “regulate and increase competition in digital markets.” It will come into force later this year.

The bill is broadly similar to the DMA, which led to the EU designating several large tech companies’ services and products as “gatekeepers” and imposing stricter rules on them. The DMCC grants the Digital Markets Unit (DMU), a division of the Competition and Markets Authority, the authority to label companies with “substantial and entrenched market power” and “a position of strategic significance” as having Strategic Market Status (SMS).

Among other things, SMS companies will have to adhere to codes of conduct as determined by the DMU. Those will be based on the foundations of fair trading, openness and trust and transparency. The DMU has a broad canvas for defining the conduct requirements for each business. If a company breaches its code of conduct, it faces a fine of up to 10 percent of its global revenue.

There have been suggestions that the likes of Meta and Google may be forced to pay UK news publishers for using their work in the likes of Google News (and perhaps even for AI products). Others have suggested that Apple may be required to allow sideloading and third-party app stores on iOS, as in the EU. Companies may also be prohibited from prioritizing their own products and services in search results. However, the specific requirements for each SMS haven’t been detailed yet.

The DMCC also has implications for things like subscriptions, junk fees, fake reviews, ticket resales, mergers, antitrust and consumer protection. For the first time, the CMA will have the power to impose a hefty fine if it determines a company has violated a consumer law — and it won’t have to go through courts to do so.

There’s already been at least one tangible consequence of the DMCC. Epic Games has pledged to bring its store and Fortnite to iOS in the UK in the latter half of 2025. The publisher previously said it would bring the Epic Games Store to mobile devices in the EU later this year after the DMA came into force.

Update 5/24 4:20PM ET: Added details about Epic Games’ plan to bring its store and Fortnite to iOS in the UK.

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